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MONDAY, JUNE 30, 1969
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:05 a.m., in room 4232, New Senate Office Building, Senator Ralph Yarborough (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Senators Yarborough and Randolph.
Also present: Robert O. Harris, staff director; John Forsythe, general counsel; and Jay Cutler, minority staff.
The CHAIRMAN. The Committee of Labor and Public Welfare will come to order.
The order of business this morning is a hearing on the nomination of Mr. Luther Holcomb, vice chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to be a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the term expiring July 1, 1974, a reappointment.
Dr. Holcomb, will you come around, please. I have your biographical sketch here. I will order it printed at this point in the record.
(The biographical sketch of Dr. Holcomb follows:)
BIOGRAPHY OF LUTHER HOLCOMB, TO BE A MEMBER OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (REAPPORTION MENT) Mr. Luther Holcomb, Vice Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was appointed to this post simultaneously with the creation of the Commission in 1965. He has served as Acting Chairman three times, from May 14 to September 21, 1966, from July 1 to August 4, 1967, and from May 1 to May 6, 1969.
Before joining the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mr. Holcomb was a civic and religious leader in Dallas, Texas. For more than twenty years, he served on numerous local, state and national boards concerned with health, education, religion and welfare. These included the Visiting Nurses Association, the Founding Committee of Dallas Junior College, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Legal Aid Society and the Child Guidance Clinic. As Executive Director of the Greater Dallas Council of Churches, he founded the Chaplaincy Program at Parkland (Dallas City-County) Hospital, which has been used as an example for other city and county hospitals. He was a Commissioner on the Dallas Housing Authority for 11 years. In 1965, a mayor and city council of bi-partisan affiliations unanimously chose Mr. Holcomb to serve as the city's Official Representative.
Mr. Holcomb has been a leader in the struggle for civil rights for many years. In 1950, he organized the Interracial Committee, which has been credited with the orderly integration of schools and public facilities in Dallas. He was Chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee to the Civil Rights Commission. On the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Mr. Holcomb has been primarily involved in the development of techniques and programs to achieve full and equal opportunity for citizens from all minority groups. To attain this goal, he has worked with industry, government, schools, churches, civil rights and civic groups.
Mr. Holcomb is the son and grandson of Baptist clergymen. Born in the South, his youth and most of his adult life were spent in the Southwest. He pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma and completed his graduate studies at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a recent speech before the Personnel Association for the Greater Boston Area Mr. Holcomb said, "What we as a nation must constantly strive to achieve is a society in which every young person can fulfill his promise, in which every person, old and young, can live his life in dignity, in which ignorance, disease and want are remembrances of the past—a society of opportunity and fulfillment for all."
The CHAIRMAN. I welcome you to this committee. I have known you for a good many years before you were appointed to your position here in Washington, but even as long as I have known you I have not known of half of these services that you have performed in our home State and in your city of Dallas. I commend you for all of these public services and significant services and humanitarian services in addition to your theological work and training as a minister of the Gospel. I see long before you were appointed to this Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965 you had rendered many services in Dallas under appointment of mayors and different groups and many of them entirely significant aids, and as a lawyer I am very much interested that you worked with the Legal Aid Society and the Child Guidance Center. Of course I knew you best as executive director of the Greater Dallas Council of Churches. We welcome you to the committee. I order printed in full the provisions of the law for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that set out the duties of the Commission.
I also order printed in the record at this point various letters I have received in regard to Dr. Holcomb's nomination.
(The information follows:)
SEC. 705. (a) There is hereby created a Commission to be known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which shall be composed of five members, not more than three of whom shall be members of the same political party, who shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. One of the original members shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, one for a term of three years, one for a term of four years, and one for a term of five years, beginning from the date of enactment of this title, but their successors shall be appointed for terms of five years each, except that any individual chosen to fill a vacancy shall be appointed only for the unexpired term of the member whom he shall succeed. The President shall designate one member to serve as Chairman of the Commission, and one member to serve as Vice Chairman. The Chairman shall be responsible on behalf of the Commission for the administrative operations of the Commission, and shall appoint, in accordance with the civil service laws, such officers, agents, attorneys, and employees as it deems necessary to assist it in the performance of its functions and to fix their compensation in accordance with the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. The Vice Chairman shall act as Chairman in the absence or disability of the Chairman or in the event of a vacancy in that office.
(b) A vacancy in the Commission shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise all the powers of the Commission and three members thereof shall constitute a quorum.
(c) The Commission shall have an official seal which shall be judicially noted.
(d) The Commission shall at the close of each fiscal year report to the Congress and to the President concerning the action it has taken; the names, salaries, and duties of all individuals in its employ and the moneys it has disbursed; and shall make such further reports on the cause of and means of eliminating discrimination and such recommendations for further legislation as may appear desirable.
(e) The Federal Executive Pay Act of 1956, as amended (5 U.S.C. 2201-2209), is further amended
(1) by adding to section 105 thereof (5 U.S.C. 2204) the following clause: “(32) Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”; and
(2) by adding to clause (45) of section 106(a) thereof (5 U.S.C. 2205 (a)) the following: “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (4).” (f) The principal office of the Commission shall be in or near the District of Columbia, but it may meet or exercise any or all its powers at any other place. The Commission may establish such regional or State offices as it deems necessary to accomplish the purpose of this title. (g) The Commission shall have power
(1) to cooperate with and, with their consent, utilize regional, State, local, and other agencies, both public and private, and individuals;
(2) to pay to witnesses whose depositions are taken or who are summoned before the Commission or any of its agents the same witness and mileage fees as are paid to witnesses in the courts of the United States;
(3) to furnish to persons subject to this title such technical assistance as they may request to further their compliance with this title or an order issued thereunder;
(4) upon the request of (i) any employer, whose employees or some of them, or (ii) any labor organization, whose members or some of them, refuse or threaten to refuse to cooperate in effectuating the provisions of this title, to assist in such effectuation by conciliation or such other remedial action as is provided by this title;
(5) to make such technical studies as are appropriate to effectuate the purposes and policies of this title and to make the results of such studies available to the public;
(6) to refer matters to the Attorney General with recommendations for intervention in a civil action brought by an aggrieved party under section 706, or for the institution of a civil action by the Attorney General under section 707, and to advise, consult, and assist the Attorney General on such
matters. (h) Attorneys appointed under this section may, at the direction of the Commission, appear for and represent the Commission in any case in court.
(i) The Commission shall, in any of its educational or promotional activities, cooperate with other departments and agencies in the performance of such educational and promotional activities.
(j) All officers, agents, attorneys, and employees of the Comission shall be subject to the provisions of section 9 of the Act of August 2, 1939, as amended (the Hatch Act), notwithstanding any exemption contained in such section.
Cazenovia, N.Y., June 26, 1969. Hon. RALPH YARBOROUGH, Chairman, Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, New Senate Office
Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR SENATOR YARBOROUGH: I would like to add my name to the many who would like to see Dr. Luther Holcomb reappointed as Vice Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Dr. Holcomb has been known to me ever since the months prior to the 1954 Supreme Court Decision on Civil Rights. We were part of a nation-wide group conferring on possible educational programs which would be helpful in assisting the implementation of the Act. I found him then to be deeply interested and concerned in the field of equal opportunity and more than interested in justice for all persons. When I visited Dallas, his former home, his work in this field was well known and I appreciated the comments his fellow citizens made about the effectiveness of his work. Along with so many of his friends I was delighted when he was appointed a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, believing that his dedication to the cause of equal opportunity would make him a most effective member.
In my work as President of Cazenovia College and as well, as Secretary of the National Board of Girl Scouts U.S.A., I have often sought his counsel and advice. At the last National Council Meeting of the Girl Scouts U.S.A., Dr. Holcomb, as Vice Chairman of the Commission, gave one of the main addresses and at Cazenovia College we were especially honored when he addressed our graduating class in 1966. His appeal to youth was noted in both instances and I know he feels that much is yet to be accomplished in preparing the way for our young people to enter the world of work equal in their opportunities. I do hope you will act favorably upon Dr. Holcomb's reappointment. Cordially,
Mrs. RHEA M. ECKEL, President.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., June 26, 1969. Hon. RALPH W. YARBOROUGH, Chairman, Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR YARBOROUGH: Luther Holcomb was a Member of the Commission when I received my appointment in June 1967. Since then I have worked closely with Luther and consider him a fair, competent and diligent Member of the Commission.
It is indeed a privilege for me to have the opportunity to support the nomination and confirmation of Luther for another term. He has been a helpful friend to me and with this note I wanted you to know how I feel about him. Sincerely,
VICENTE T. XIMENES, Commissioner,
STATEMENT OF LUTHER HOLCOMB, OF TEXAS, NOMINEE, TO BE
A MEMBER OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Holcomb, do you have any statement you would care to make to the committee?
Mr. HOLCOMB. Mr. Chairman, with your permission I will not make a formal statement unless you so desire. If you will grant me 2 minutes, I would like to make an informal one.
It is with profound respect and sincere humility that I appear this morning. It was only in May of 1965 that I appeared before this committee. At that time, Senator Lister Hill was presiding and you introduced me to the committee.
I appreciate what you have said about the biographical sketch. With my background, no biographical data could fully tell all of the experiences that have brought me to this moment. I would appreciate it if the record could show that my Congressman is present. He likewise served as the former mayor of Dallas. Also present is an individual who is here today strictly on the basis of personal friendship and has known me longer than any other person, Mrs. Hope Ridings Miller, who knew me at a time in a small town of Sherman, Tex., where my father served as pastor of the First Baptist Church and her father served as our family physician. Likewise on a basis of friendship, Commissioner Willard Deason of the Interstate Commerce Commission of Austin, Tex., is present. Likewise, it is with sincere appreciation that the new chairman of our Commission, William H. Brown III, is present; and another commissioner, Commissioner Elizabeth Kuck.
If this committee sees fit to uphold the nomination of President Nixon, it will be my intention to work as a team with Chairman Brown, because I think that is for the best interests of those where
discrimination exists and to fulfill the intent of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
So certainly, Mr. Chairman, if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. I likewise believe that I have been in the office of every member of this committee during Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week. I did not visit with each one personally, but I have either visited with the Senator or with their administrative assistant. It is with no small amount of appreciation that I learned that when President Nixon announced the renomination, that he said he was doing so because I had served with distinction for the past 4 years. My desire in being eager to continue is because I think this Commission deals with one of the most important problems confronting America. I am grateful that you know because of your background and mine that I am not a Johnny come lately to this field. But I am grateful that I think we have come to a period where we can make a real impact in this realm of discrimination so far as related to race, sex, religion, and national origin.
There is much more that I could say, but I would like to sum it up by just saying that I pledge to give my very best with a total commitment if you see fit to uphold the nomination of President Nixon.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Holcomb, I remember back in Dallas when you were considered so far out in left field on this question of racial justice that you were the only player on the team.
I see your Congressman back there. Do you think he will vouch for you is the only question I have for you.
Congressman Cabell, we always like to hear from a colleague in Congress.
Mr. HOLCOMB. At one time the Congressman and I went down to defeat a housing battle back there.
The CHAIRMAN. Congressman Cabell, we always welcome you as a Member of Congress and as a fellow Texan.
STATEMENT OF HON. EARLE CABELL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. CABELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I shall be quite sparing of your time, but I would not overlook this opportunity of adding my endorsement to the nomination of my longtime and highly respected friend, Dr. Luther Holcomb. I was serving as a public official in the city of Dallas during a period of very difficult transition, and I might say that it was my privilege to work closely with Dr. Holcomb. It was largely through his good judgment, his dedication that lead to the success of this transition period. I am mentioning specifically the desegregation of our public schools. And it was due in no small measure to his dedication, his good judgment, his complete sincerity that this transition was carried through as one of the most successful such undertakings that has been recorded in any part of our country to date. I have had an opportunity to observe his present work with the EEOC, and I have found that same excellent judgment, that same dedication to the program enunciated by the Congress and by the successive Presidents in carrying forward the objectives of this Commission. And I